Because of their compact and portable nature, laptop computers tend to have restricted hardware capabilities that limit the memory available for running video content which can cause issues with video playback. Another reason video clips might stop and start during playback is bandwidth limitations.

According to Microsoft, many different problems can show up while a video clip is running. These can take the form of stopping, flashing and hesitation. Another problems is the video running smoothly only in the full-screen format, as opposed to inside the browser window.

If the problem with video playback can be isolated to the laptop's driver card, it is possible to upgrade or fix it, according to PC World. Some laptops even work with the card from a desktop unit if the systems are fundamentally compatible. Unfortunately, the driver card is embedded deeply enough that installing a new one requires almost a total dismantling of the laptop.

For issues related to bandwidth, laptops often connect to Internet services via a wireless connection, which can impose stark caps on data download rates. If the streaming video stops repeatedly to buffer, this might be the problem. It is also possible that the video source itself has trouble delivering video content swiftly enough for real-time playback. In either case, according to PC World, the solution might be to install a video accelerator software package that buffers streaming media for a smooth playback.